May 2009 archive

Garbage bag full of spinach!

I visited my parents this past Thursday and took home a giant bag of spinach from their garden.  My dad always manages to grow the most gorgeous looking spinach and as much as they love it, there's a point where it gets ahead of them.  We've eaten quite a few spinach salads with hot bacon dressing but the best way to reduce a mountain of spinach is to cook it.  The following recipe stretches three eggs into four servings – another bonus.

Crustless Spinach, Onion and Feta Quiche (adapted)
1 medium onion, diced
3 garlic scapes, diced
1 tsp olive oil
6-oz fresh spinach
3 large eggs
1/2 cup King Arthur White Whole Wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
pinch of
Foxpoint Seasoning
1 1/3 cups milk (I buy Cruze Farm milk and strain the cream)
1/4 to 1/2 cup feta cheese

Preheat oven to 400F.  Lightly grease a 10-inch quiche/tart pan (I used a cake pan).  In a medium frying pan, cook diced onion and scapes with olive oil over medium-high heat until onion is translucent and tender. Add in fresh spinach and cook until just wilted. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together eggs, flour, baking powder and salt. Whisk in milk, then stir in spinach-onion mixture.  Pour quiche base into prepared pan. Top with feta cheese.

Bake for 25 minutes, or until center is set and the outside edge is golden brown.  Let set for 5 minutes, then slice and serve.

I love how the addition of a little bit of flour gives this a very thin crust without all the calories of a quiche crust.  You could use any kind of greens for the spinach – I think swiss chard would be fantastic.  I plan to try this several times this summer, using whatever leftover produce I have on hand.  I used the lower amount of feta cheese and I thought that was enough but I also used a very full flavored Bulgarian feta from our local middle eastern market.  I really want to try this later this summer with roasted red peppers, swiss chard and smoked mozzarella.  It was great right out of the oven but I also liked it straight out of the fridge.  I think it would also be great with roasted ancho peppers, grilled corn, queso fresco and a fresh tomato salsa on top.

Spaghetti With Broccoli Rabe, Toasted Garlic and Bread Crumbs

As much as I love east Tennessee, it's not a hot spot for new food trends.  It's only been in the past few years that we've gotten some great sushi places.  I've never seen mache sold in a store around here and while I probably could have found broccoli rabe if I had actively searched for it, our local Krogers(the Fellini Krogers as many of us call it) never carried it.  So I grew it.  It's a quick growing crop and the recipe below is very tasty. 

Spaghetti With Broccoli Rabe, Toasted Garlic and Bread Crumbs

Salt
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, more as needed (I used 1/4 cup)
3 or 4 cloves of garlic, peeled and slivered
1 cup bread crumbs, preferably homemade
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste (I used Aleppo pepper)
About 1 pound broccoli rabe, trimmed and washed
1 pound spaghetti, linguine or other long pasta
Freshly ground black pepper
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and salt it. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat. When oil is warm, cook garlic just until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes. Add bread crumbs and red pepper flakes and cook until bread crumbs are golden, 5 minutes or so. Remove and set aside.

2. Cook broccoli rabe in boiling water until it is soft, about 5 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon, drain well and chop. Cook pasta in same pot.

3. Meanwhile, add remaining oil to skillet over medium-low heat. Add broccoli rabe and toss well; sprinkle with salt and pepper. When it is warm add garlic and bread crumbs and mix well.

4. When pasta is done, drain it, reserving a little cooking water. Toss pasta in skillet with broccoli rabe mixture, moistening with a little reserved water if necessary. Adjust seasonings and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.

Yield: 4 to 6 servings.

Picture of our tomato beds

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Someone at the farmer's market on Saturday wanted to know how I support my tomato plants.  We take 1x2s and drill large holes with a 3/4 inch bit. Then we insert bamboo poles through the holes.  As the tomatoes get bigger, I use twine to attach more bamboo poles so that they're perpendicular to the existing bamboo poles.  If we need to, we use pieces of used hose to tie the tomato to these supports.

The tomato cages that places like Home Depot sell are pretty much a joke when it comes to heirloom tomatoes.  They just get too big.  The set-up above works well and looks nice.

One Local Summer 2009 – Sign up now!

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Farm to Philly is hosting this year's One Local Summer Challenge.  Marcus and I have done this the past couple of years and it's a lot of fun.  All you have to do is agree to eat one meal a week that uses only local ingredients (exceptions: oil, salt and pepper, and spices) and either post about it on your blog or email it to the regional coordinator.  If you're new to eating local foods, this is a really fun way to get more involved.  I got lots of great ideas and recipes reading about what other people had tried.  The sign-up deadline is May 30.